YADKINVILLE — Second-grade students from Yadkin County participated in a 21-year tradition last Wednesday at Agriculture Day, an event hosted by the Yadkin County Cooperative Extension Agency at the Lone Hickory Arena.
“All in all it was a very successful event,” said Phil Rucker, agriculture and livestock agent for the area. “The kids got to have hands-on contact with farm animals and learn how different aspects of agriculture positively affects their lives.”
The event was created by the 4-H Club and Yadkin Cooperative Extension “to help educate our youth about where their food comes from and also about Yadkin County agriculture and its importance to the county,” said Melissa Staebner, extension agent and 4-H youth development coordinator. “The day allows them to get up close to the animals and agricultural stations. The stations and presenters reinforce the instruction and what has been learned in the classroom.”
Staebner said the information corresponds with the second-grade science curriculum and that “teachers appreciate the opportunity for their students to have an educational field trip at a perfect setting, Lone Hickory Arena, to learn about agriculture.”
A total of 375 children attended Agriculture Day along with 30 adults. Thirty volunteers including 4-H’ers served as presenters.
The event began with a demonstration by Rae Rucker and Cody Brown on their quarter horses named Rufus and Red. Brown showed off a variety of skills with Red, demonstrating a walk, trot and canter as Rucker explained to the students some of the process of training a horse. Brown also performed some tricks, standing atop Red and cracking a loud whip in the air, riding in tight circles and even having Red lay down.
Students then had a chance to visit different stations and see, touch and learn about dairy cows, beef cows, chickens, goats, insects and more.
Sisters Grace Gilyard and Brittany Holder showed off their collection of unusual insects, including a pet Madagascar hissing cockroach named Big Stuff.
Spencer Brown showed off his goats to the other children. Taylor and Andrew Blevins talked about chickens and Christy Rucker about beef cows. Noah Pendry brought a newborn calf and a full grown dairy cow from his family farm in Boonville. Pendry graduated from Forbush High School in December and will be heading off to college in the fall. This was his third time presenting at the annual Agriculture Day.
“I love doing it,” Pendry said. “I look forward to it every year.”
County Extension Director Colleen Church said the event was a great day for the children of the county and praised the volunteers who made the event happen.
“This is a great opportunity for the children to learn more about agricultural production in the county and where their food really comes from,” Church said. “Children can read about agriculture, but this event gives them hands-on opportunities to touch the animals, interact with farmers, ask questions and have a meaningful experience. Our agents and many volunteers do a wonderful job with this event. We cannot thank our volunteers and Lone Hickory Arena enough for their support. We simply could not do this without them.”
County Extension volunteers will be honored on Thursday at the annual volunteer appreciation celebration.
Kitsey E. Burns can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.